Sid Goes....Absolutely Nowhere Because #Lockdown
Well, I finally cracked.
Like an egg into a frying pan, I cracked.
7 weeks into confinement with only First Husband and his beloved PlayStation for company (which he keeps far warmer at night than his wife, by the way) and I cracked.
I can't be the only one having countless conversations with my lesser half "bodily present" in the room, all brain cells fully focused on Call of Duty?!
Here's the thing.
I miss eventing. I miss the thrill of cross country, I miss the excitement of getting Sid all plaited up and ready the night before, but most of all, I miss the possibility of bumping into Second Husband whilst course walking in the summer sunshine, my hair blowing in the wind, and romantic music playing in the distance.
And so, in the eventing Sahara that is #lockdown, I settled on just the thing.
The cure to my gloom.
Now, I know what you are thinking.
"Hannah, you need a pick me UP, not a throw me DOWN!"
And it is true that our dressage past is rather chequered.
But after another evening of average cooking (First Husband), another episode of Too Hot To Handle (Netflix) and two bottles of wine (me), I was ready to try anything.
The morning of our foray into the world of dressage arrived and I headed to the yard, with the notable absence of my usual McDonald's detour for a pre-show McMuffin.
The first hurdle was getting Sid out of bed; I found him passed out and snoring loudly into his straw.
I talked him through my plan of action for the day. He showed no interest whatsoever.
A few treats later, though, and he managed to drag himself to his feet, bottom lip grumbling as he did so.
Bribery works - you heard it here first.
Now, Sid has been treating this holiday as an excuse to become an artist, and by that I mean his whiter-than-brown skewbald coat is a watercolour masterpiece of muck-related shades.
Getting the industrial strength cleaning products out, I gave him a much-needed bath.
Once he was clean, I threw on his massage rug and started plaiting his mane.
Sadly, a week or so ago I was forced into shaving First Husband's head, and Sid had fared no better in the haircut stakes.
His forelock had been lopped into a short, square fringe, and needless to say it was NOT cooperating.
I shoved his fly veil on and told myself you wouldn't see the damage on a low res video...
Full show attire on, we headed over to our grass arena.
Happily, the busy A-road behind the hedge that bordered our makeshift arena added "show atmosphere" and gave Sid plenty of excuses to spook.
I nodded to my videographer (I was taking it all very seriously, obv) and began introducing myself, committing the British idiosyncrasy of finishing by thanking and then quietly apologising a number of times.
Off we trotted, and Sid lost no time in demonstrating his wonderful grasp of shoulder in.
Unfortunately, there is no such movement in a BE100 test.
We turned down the centre line and I went into business mode. I could sense the crowd's anticipation. This was my moment.
We managed to not totally murder the trot work, and a couple of transitions were in the vicinity of the correct markers.
Our free walk contained free trot strides, but everyone loves a Brucey bonus, don't they?!
Having managed not to fall on our faces cantering round a 20x40 grass arena without studs, we halted with only a few steps sideways, to finish on the 3/4 line.
My salute was every bit as aggressive and robotic as usual.
Undeterred, I continued straight onto my goal of the day: to ride a BE Novice test all the way through.
With another introduction (thank you sorry thank you nod) I trotted back down to begin my first ever BE Novice test.
I haven't even practised one before, which it soon became clear was quite a large mistake on my part...
I realised this as I hauled Sid again onto that old faithful, the 7/8 line, having forgotten that I should be turning down the 3/4 line to leg yield into the far corner.
Sid does have a rather nice medium trot, but it was heavily disguised when I motorbiked round the corner and put my leg on a few strides before the end of that movement.
His medium canter was rather better, which resulted in me narrowly avoiding jumping over the white boards and out of the arena.
Managing to contain our enthusiasm just a little, we turned down the centre line to finish and came to a halt. Not square, but perhaps a quadrangle of some description.
I let out a little cheer; we had done it!
Our goal had been achieved.
I wanted to post this long before I know our scores, because I have no doubt the poor judge watching the video will find our tests thrilling for all of the wrong reasons.
But I am so glad I did it, whatever the scores. And I hope the judge has a good ol' belly laugh at my horrified face as I stumble through the tests.
Praying that you are all staying well and that we can get back to what we love soon.
But in the meantime, "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side".
Lots of love, Sid Goes Eventing xxx